Showing posts with label Per Mertesacker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Per Mertesacker. Show all posts

Sunday, 15 October 2017

LaPercy Review: Watford vs Arsenal

The matchday 8 between Watford and Arsenal at Vicarage road ended in a shock 2-1 win for the home side as Tom Cleverley and Troy Deeney cancelled Per mertesacker's header as they once again shocked their opponents just like their previous  two matches which they saved in the dying moments. This was not the only shocking result and Chelsea were shocked by Crystal Palace, Juventus by Lazio and Borussia Dortmund by RB Leipzig all having the 2-1 result. 
            Arsenal were genuine title contenders before the season started and after a difficult start to the season they are back in the title race albeit barely as they trail Chelsea by 8 points with 16 games to go. Not the ideal situation for the gunners who also resume their Europa League campaign in couple of days time. As the games come thick and fast at this time of the year Arsenal need to dispose off teams like Watford if they were to retain their place in premier league top 4. Couple of good wins can get them back in the top half of the season and well clear of relegation zone which is the priority for the club. 
                The first goal for Arsenal came in the 40th minute. It all started via a great cross from Xhaka, bent in from the right with his left foot. Per met it with the meat of his forehead as he leapt like the proverbial oncorhynchus in the six yard box to meet it at the apex of his running jump and thunder it past Gomes. For the rest of the half Arsenal were not the passing team they used to be, a parody of a passing team at times. This season they have certainly moderated their style, varying it to include some longer passes and width from the wing-backs. It's a work in progress and in this XI they lacked a couple of genuinely outstanding players but it's been efficient, productive so far in the 1st half. Arsenal should have scored the second in the 70th minute as it was a superb break from Arsenal as Kolasinac plays it down the line to Iwobi, who charges infield and plays an angled pass to put Ozil clear on goal. He looked offside, wasn’t flagged and hit a low shot that was well saved down to his left by Gomes. It should have been 2-0. Wenger was livid and rightly so at the award of that penalty in the 72nd minute and was no different to the Welbeck/Holebas incident at the other end. Richarlison ran at Bellerin on the left side of the box and when the two bumped shoulders Richarlison went flying. That was a dive. Troy Deeney scored the leveller for Watford as he placed the penalty firmly to Cech's right having sent the keeper the wrong way who believes that the Spaniard’s long hair might have been the problem. Watford continued their amazing run of surprising teams right at the end as Cleverley who was at fault for Arsenal's opener as he rectified that mistake. The former Manchester United man lashed home in stoppage time after the visitors were unable to clear their lines to give the Hornets a first Premier League home win of the campaign and it started via a shoot from Holebas which was defected, Deeney went in with Cech and fell on top of him. The keeper sprung up to save the shot hit on the rebound. The ball fell near Cleverley who rammed his shot into the roof of the net. 
     It must be some consolation to the Gooners as Liverpool once again dropped points as they were held to a 0-0 draw which continued  their bad form since Alex Oxalade Chamberlain joined them in this transfer window. I think Alex is somewhat happy as he is now sitting in the middle of a 7 men bench and he's finally got that central role he was looking for after leaving the Gunners.

Author's Comment: Arsenal always turn things around when they have their backs to the wall but they are at their most vulnerable when coming into a game in rich form. Watford match might prove a banana skin for Arsenal but most of the players were fresh after international break and playing away at Vicarage had too much quality in their ranks to lose this game to Watford for the first time since 1987. I hope they can improve their game against their Europa League opponent Red Star Belgrade
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Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Player of the Season - in second is...Per Mertesacker

Player of the Season - in second is... We continue the countdown to the unveiling of the Player of the Season - as voted by the fans. In second place is Per Mertesacker. The Germany international had another fine campaign and received 12.8 per cent of the votes. Arsenal reporter Rob Kelly gives his verdict on the 29-year-old. If strength of character is one of the defining qualities of the current Arsenal team, then one man embodies it more than most: Per Mertesacker. The Germany international has proven himself to be one of the finest defenders in Europe over the course of his career, but after 82 minutes of the FA Cup semi-final against Wigan he was facing a sporting disaster, both personal and collective. In the space of three years, the German has established himself as arguably the key figure in the dressing room and a deeply-popular character among the fans Having barely put a foot wrong during a stellar season, Mertesacker's mistimed challenge on Callum McManaman at Wembley gifted the Championship side a penalty that they duly converted. Arsenal were staring into the abyss, and the weight of pressure must have been suffocating. But with seven minutes remaining, redemption was his as Mertesacker threw himself at Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s mishit shot and cushioned in a header for a precious equaliser. It sparked joyous scenes in the stands, and the outpouring of emotion from Mertesacker himself told its own story. Cometh the hour, and all that. It should have come as no surprise. In the space of three years, the German has established himself as arguably the key figure in the dressing room and a deeply-popular character among supporters. If anyone was going to rescue the team when they needed it most, it was Mertesacker. Arsène Wenger, who was forced to defend the centre back during his early days at the club, has never been in any doubt about his quality. Speaking to German broadcaster ZDF in October, he was fulsome in his praise for a man he has often entrusted with the captain’s armband. “[He has a] super attitude - very intelligent and is getting a lot of respect from others,” the manager said. “He is very professional. He has developed very well, technique-wise and tactics-wise too. In my opinion, he is one of the best defenders in the world today.” Mertesacker is similarly popular among his team-mates. His relationship with Laurent Koscielny at the back offers a rock-solid foundation for Arsenal’s attacking talent to thrive, and the Frenchman acknowledges the 29-year-old’s importance - both on and off the field. “Per gives everything for the club, he is a man who is respected by all of his team-mates,” Koscielny said. “He's German so he's professional and it's very important to have a partner like him in the squad. He tries to give himself for the team and when the other players see that, they want to do the same.” He tries to give himself for the team and when the other players see that, they want to do the same Laurent Koscielny When, on Arsenal’s FA Cup victory parade, Mertesacker pleaded briefly for “one more minute” with the trophy you could see how much it meant to him. For a man seemingly entwined in the fabric of the club, the moment was something special and one he wanted to extend as long as possible. More than anything, he seems to care deeply for the club. After signing a new deal in March, Mertesacker's words spoke of a man who cannot believe his luck to be playing for Arsenal - and that, perhaps more than anything, is why he is so loved. “On my first visit to England as a boy I bought an Arsenal jersey as a souvenir and I was so proud wearing it when playing football with my friends,” he said. “Many years later, I have become a real Gunner, being even more proud to wear the Arsenal jersey. I am truly thankful to the club and all the supporters for the time I have had here so far. I’m proud to be a Gunner.” It has been a remarkable season for Mertesacker - and that one stooping header at Wembley could have changed the course of the club for good. For the BFG, it was a fairytale moment in a fantastic personal campaign.
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